Duke University Motorsports is a student group that designs and builds open wheel, single seat race cars to compete in the Formula SAE competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The team consists of Duke students from both Pratt and Trinity, in all classes. The purpose of the team is to provide students with a way to gain practical design and manufacturing experience in a fun and challenging setting.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

End of Fall Semester

Today marks our first official day of winter break, which we've been looking forward to for many weeks now. We just wanted to post a quick update of what we ended up finishing the semester within the garage, and where we're heading for the next semester.

First, Maurice and I worked on doing more work on the fuel tank. We finished making the filler neck cuts into the fuel tank base, and welded it all up to create nearly all of the fuel tank. We had to make a minor modification to the filler neck angle (i.e., it didn't fit with the frame geometry...oops), but overall, we were all very happy with the final product.

Making the first cut into the fuel tank base

Maurice happy with the final product

Close-up of the filler neck welds...after the slight hiccup
Comparison between the new design and the old design...big difference in geometry

The next major project that we were able to accomplish was the beginning of making the wax intake runner molds. We redesigned the molds this year to allow for the wax to properly cool standing straight up (In other words, we added a slight angle to the base). The plan is to wrap each runner in carbon fiber, vacuum bag with epoxy, and then melt the wax out to leave a perfectly formed carbon fiber tube.

Melting the wax to put in the molds
Letting the wax cool down in the molds...mmm
We also fully assembled the intake manifold (both halves and the diffuser/restrictor bell). This includes the velocity stacks that will house the intake runners, and everything was put together with fiberglass reinforced quick-setting epoxy. Once it finished drying, we placed carbon fiber strips covering all seams for both reinforcement and sealing, and the results are shown below.
Put together and waiting for epoxy
Setting the air induction system with epoxy
Final assembled intake - and yes, that is a total weight of under 0.8 pounds
We also mocked up the full exhaust system in an old frame to get the geometry completely right, and then installed it on an old cylinder head clamped to the welding table to finish all of the welding. Overall, we are about 85% complete with all of the exhaust welding.
Exhaust primaries and secondaries mocked up in the frame for tack welding
Exhaust installed on old cylinder head waiting to be fully welded
Not everything we've worked on in the garage has been for the car, though. Kenzie decided that the garage door needed some spicing up, so through her hard work, she mocked up the Duke Motorsports logo on our newly painted garage door.
Duke "D" on the garage door
But, the Duke "D" wasn't quite good enough, so to take it up to the next level, Kenzie decided to put a racing flag in the background of the "D" to truly make the Duke Motorsports logo.

The master artist at work
Close to final product minus some final coats and pin-striping
One last, quick update. We officially have the 2013 car frame back from Chappell! We are very thankful for all of the effort he put into finishing the frame quickly and getting it back to us. Everything looks great with it, and we're excited to start the long process of putting the car together! The only thing is that our garage is getting a weeeeee bit crowded.
New frame!

Comparing the SolidWorks drawings to the frame
Current status of the garage

We, at Duke Motorsports, want to wish everyone a great holiday break with family and friends. Until 2013...

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